Everyone anticipates the bliss of motherhood. But, through the cracks of our complicated psyche, postpartum blue creeps in. When postpartum depression hits a new mother, the worst thing they can indulge in is self-criticism.
Trying to guilt trip oneself after already dealing with the pain of a complicated birth can worsen the melancholy. Definitely, as a new mother, one wants to spend quality time with the newborn. Fresh into the world, desperate for a strong maternal connection.
However, rather than dwelling in the confusion of why this is happening, or at worst, shaming the mother, we should all be helping her.
If your friend has recently given birth and is waiting to feel that connection with the newborn, but postpartum depression is preventing them, then do not wait to help.
Even if they do not say it out loud, they need it!
In this excerpt below, we will be discussing some of the common ways you can help your friend leave this tough time behind. Remember, you are taking a stand from an emotional and friendship perspective. It won’t be the same as them taking medical help from a professional.
Therefore, alongside your assistance, you should also encourage them to go to the doctor.
What Are Postpartum Blues?
Postpartum depression is a melancholy that ensues right after a woman gives birth. The regular symptoms are sadness, inability to find motivation, excess sleep or insomnia, loss of appetite, and, most importantly, feeling a disconnect from their newborn.
Mothers sometimes also deal with postpartum depression due to their changing bodies. This can also lead to body dysmorphia since many go to the delivery room with the idea that post-birth, their body will shrink to their original state before pregnancy.
However, when it doesn’t happen immediately, it gets difficult for some people to deal with it. These are some scenarios where you, as a friend, will step in and help your friend.
How To Help A New Mother Deal With Postpartum Blues
Postpartum blues can begin right after the birthing process, and it can continue for a couple of months. These are some ways you can support your friend during this challenging time.
1. Encourage Them To Seek Therapy
As a new mother, especially if she is working and about to reach the end of the maternity leave term, doing something for herself will be out of the question. This is why you have to give her the support of time before emotions.
Why not take the initiative, and take care of your new niece/nephew so that they at least have an hour once or twice a week to visit a therapist? Talking to a mental professional in a judgment-free zone will help them express their truest feelings. Once that is over, the therapist can provide systematic psychometric exercises which can help minimize the blues.
2. Become Their Emotional Support System
Neither of us lives in a utopian world where everyone is empathetic toward others. This means they are likely to encounter people (Sometimes in their own family) who will heavily judge them for things out of their control.
They might even have to hear terms like ‘they are a bad mother,’ ‘it is all in their head, and they are the ones not trying enough.’
Finding oneself alone and isolated, all the while fighting a battle, leads them even deeper inside the cell of depression. So, you have to be the person who always ensures your lack of judgment and abundance of support for her situation.
You have to be the person they come to when the rest of the world is against them. They have to receive that emotional confidence from your end, which lets them. So, find ways to talk to them every day and make them understand where they are right to feel like the blue and work on it.
3. Encourage Them To Take a Rest
A newborn parent has a plethora of jobs that literally takes the sleep away from their nights. However, for someone dealing with postpartum blues or depression, the lack of sleep could be dangerous.
Sleep helps us keep our chemicals in balance. A well-rested night of sleep wakes us with an endorphins release, increasing our energy. This boost of energy makes us resilient to try out new things and fight internal battles.
So, you can understand that a lack of sleep will lead this enter support system to falter. This is why mothers who have just given birth need good rest. This is what maternal leave is all about. Encourage them to take full advantage of their leave.
If you want, you can even speak to the father, explain the issue, and take some weight off her shoulder. Help babysit overnight once or twice a week so that they can enjoy a good resting period and wake up refreshed. You can even send flowers and chocolate since they are both known for inducing serotonin and inducing sleep.
4. Go For A Mommy Vacation
If they are too stubborn about not taking care of themselves, then it is time to inculcate some healthy force. Settle everything with their family, find a safe place for them to drop the baby over the weekend, and do not take no for an answer.
They won’t be away from their newborn for too long. A weekend of rest and enjoyment will do them good. Plus, many doctors recommend a vacation for one distinct reason:
Mothers who are having difficulty connecting with their babies will start missing their little ones after being apart for two to three days. This can strongly tug on their maternal instincts and help strengthen their relationship with their children.
5. Hook Them With A Nutritionist
Good food is important for both physical and mental energy. On the other hand, tasty food is also the reason for dopamine release (the literal happy chemical). Therefore, a nutritionist can help put health and taste together.
They can have a discussion about their post-pregnancy food aversions and how to take a healthy, nutritious meal each day without these items.
Once they are done with their appointment, help them with grocery shopping. Plus, ensure she’s eating well-balanced meals. Good nutrition can have a positive impact on mood and energy levels.
Plus, having healthy brain food throughout the day will physically give them more energy to make some of the best ways to deal with a newborn.
6. Help Them Pick A New Holistic Hobby
Sometimes the key to curing any type of melancholy is getting attuned to your natural senses. Practicing healthy distraction by simplifying your thoughts towards one task. This keeps the complicated feelings that often lead to depression at bay.
New mothers often cannot spare the time to think about themselves and a hobby they can pick. Rather many who suffer from postpartum depression wait within the dread until it passes. As a friend who doesn’t have a newborn to take care of, you should take the initiative to help them find a hobby.
Begin with taking some holistic classes. For example, yoga, dance, aerobics, painting, cooking, gardening, etc.
The advantage of these activities is two fields:
- They work on the body, helping them feel good about it. Especially for young mothers finding it difficult to accept their changing bodies.
- These holistic activities not just work on your body but also help increase the release of happy chemicals like endorphins and serotonin.
Help them to try out activities that are good for their mind, body, and soul. Plus, the support and your company will encourage them more than doing it all on their own.
7. Find Other Mom Friends
You might be their friend, but if you have never been a mother, reliability could be the biggest issue. Afterall, there is still a lot you do not understand if you haven’t experienced motherhood. So, over here, your duty would be to find other mom friends for your friends.
Especially mothers who have had a history of suffering from postpartum depression before. Getting suggestions from someone who has been through the same pain and turmoil can make them feel a sense of kinship.
Not only will they be more forward in asking for effective advice from them, but they also find some relief in the fact that they are not alone.
8. Decorate Their Environment
The environment will always be a catalyst for our mood. Decluttered, untidy spaces always keep us in the same state of mind. However, for your friend who is already suffering from turmoil, and taking care of the baby at the same time, tidying the house isn’t the priority.
The untidiness around them could also be adding to their melancholy. So, you can take it upon yourself to tidy the house once in a while. Buy some decorating items which your friends might love.
For example, some mood lights, a string of fairy lights, some soothing candles all around the house, and added flowers for the aroma.
You can even walk the extra length and stack their bathroom toiletries and pantry. Check what baby products they will be needing soon, and stack them up.
9. Encourage Them To Spend Some Time Alone
No matter how much time you spend with your friend over the weekend, their self-time will rule over it mainly because someone suffering from depression should always find ways and exercises to be content when they are alone.
We all get a dopamine release through social interaction with our favorite people. However, that chemical balance falters when left alone with our overthinking selves. These common symptoms of overthinking and stress-induced anxious thoughts are intensified with postpartum depression.
Therefore, you must remember that you wouldn’t be by their side at all times. It is important for them to start enjoying alone time and find simple exercises which help them do so.
If nothing appeals to them at the moment, you can ask them to speak to their therapist. However, as a friend, you can even recommend activities that have worked for you. For example, taking a long warm bath with sweet-smelling bath salts at the end of the day, reading their favorite book, or watching their favorite movie. Send flowers and chocolate treats to encourage some relaxing time alone; this can be a big help as well.
10. Spend Time Just With Their Kids
Just like saying apart can strengthen bonds, spending time together can do so too. When we say spend time, we do not necessarily mean staying at the house and changing diapers all day. Rather encourage them to have a day out with their baby.
This could be as simple as setting up a picnic in their backyard where her only company would be the sound of the birds and the cooing of her baby. Or something extravagant like taking their baby on a drive along the city. Halting at their favorite stores to shop and restaurants to eat.
Now, this could be a little intimidating, especially for mothers who are dealing with postpartum blues.
Help Them Start Their Motherhood Journey Post-Postpartum Depression
They are dealing with a lot of scrutiny from every end of their life, and what they need right now is our support.
Support new mothers recovering from postpartum depression with empathy, professional counseling, and a nurturing community. Encourage self-care, mindfulness, and gradual reintegration into daily routines.
Foster open communication with loved ones and medical experts, emphasizing the importance of seeking help without stigma. Provide resources for coping strategies, bonding activities, and building a strong support network.
Empower them to prioritize their well-being, celebrate small victories, and embrace the joys of motherhood. Remember, every step forward is a triumph, and together, they can embark on a resilient and fulfilling motherhood journey.